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Forgive me, I'm trying to find

"I have a dream."

Silly, really, how that must have seemed like to my father. It sounded like the opening line to a revolutionary speech. "I have a dream," said the man on the podium, "and it has freedom written all over it." It sounded laughable, even to me. Everyone had dreams. Everyone had ambitions. Not many chose to pursue them though. Reality had a tough way of seeping through to best laid plans. Who was I to use it as a reason to make such a life changing decision?

It was my honest reason though, and for as long as I'd lived, honesty was one of the many things my father and I awarded each other. Complete disclosure. When you've lost as much as we had, you might understand it better. We had only each other and so, from a very early age, I'd learned that in a world that took and broke and stole, my Papa was the only person I could trust to have my back. A lot of my classmates thought this odd but I didn't bother to even try to explain. My relationship with my father was one that I treasured deeply.

Momentarily though, Papa was glaring at me. We were seated at our usual table in the small coffee shop down the street from our apartment. Papa cradled his cup of long black in his hands while I sipped white chocolate mocha from my own.

"Did you now?" he asked me, eyebrow cocking.

I set my cup back down before replying. The nervous flutter that I'd felt for the past three weeks came rushing back. Despite the hours of practice in front of the mirror, the speech and the self-talks, I found myself stalling this conversation. How could I tell my father that I wanted to move halfway across the world to pursue a "dream?" How could I tell him that I wanted to leave him, leave home?

Someone entered the shop and the opening door let in a gust of cold wind that sent the napkins on our table flying. Distracted by the fluttering white, I watched it float a few feet away then settle once the door had closed.

"Papa, the faculty of arts in school is offering me an opportunity, one that I might never be able to come across ever again." My words came out rushed, completely unplanned. I'd wanted to drag things out, make him realize just how much I wanted this. But the frown pulling on the edges of his lips, and moustache, set me off. I could see that my window of opportunity was closing. Papa's facial expressions were fully linked to his emotions. Once he'd let a scowl settle, there'd be no further discussion of any matter. He was as stubborn as a mule too. Changing the winter snow to soft raindrops with your thoughts would have been easier.

I had to make my case before he'd made up his mind.

"It's only going to last a year, I swear. And it'll be a wonderful opportunity for me to develop my acting skills."

Papa took a sip of his coffee and gave a small huff. I leaned forward and looked him straight in the eye. "Please, Papa. Professor Pritchard recommended me. Can you believe that? Professor Pritchard! And you know how much he dislikes me. He told the dean that the only student he thought had a chance in America was me - plain old Anya Borokov."

His eyes widened at 'America.' I bit my tongue. Probably would've done me good to keep that part of the plan quiet until after he'd said yes.

"You want me to let you go to America?" He put his coffee on the table now, and was leaning forwards on his seat. I could see the red that was beginning to creep over his cheeks.

"How dare you ask me that! No, you are not going. I won't allow it!" Papa spat the words out like they tasted bad. I think some of the other customers in the shop turned to look at us.

"But Papa..."

He shook his head. "You are not going and that's final. How dare you ask me that! How dare you!"

I crossed my arms across my chest and sulked. I got it. I was a terrible daughter. I knew how he would react once he'd found out about the where of the exchange program. It was exactly why I'd planned to keep it quiet right until I left. It was just my luck that I'd been stupid enough to let it slip so soon. In all honesty, after what Mum had done, I kind of hated myself for asking it of him too. But it was a once in a lifetime opportunity, one that I so desperately wanted.

"Papa, please don't be so rash. At least tell me you'll think about it." I pleaded. Reaching forward, I grabbed his hand - a difficult task seeing that he was sitting across the table - and held it between my own. I could feel the years of labour on the railroads on them; so calloused and scarred they were. I didn't like upsetting my father. I didn't like seeing him sad, or angry, or anything less than happy. He'd sacrificed so much for me - taking three jobs once my mother had left, to put me through school and college. I could never repay him that. But I wanted to try and acting, this slot in the program, it was just another stepping stone to that.

He turned away and I could see his jaw clench.

"You are going to leave me, just like she did." He said, this time in English. I felt his words run me through. It hurt that he'd think that but it wasn't surprising. My mother had told him the same thing once, ten years ago. It had been an opportunity, she assured him, an opportunity to get her singing career on the right track. Everyone knew that Hollywood was how you got rich and famous. My mother - French by birth and name - wanted to try her hand at it. She could speak English well enough. She was beautiful and talented, she had a chance. And my father had believed her; word for word. He had bought her a plane ticket and we stood at the airport that day, waving her off; dreams of good fortune and happiness in our hearts and minds.

Now, almost a decade later, I was asking him to let me do the very thing that had torn our family apart.

"I will not, I promise you." I replied in halted English. It was not my best language, but we conversed in it whenever we could.

Papa stared at me for what seemed like a long minute before he pulled away. Standing, he took in a deep breath before pointing to the door. "Let's go discuss this further at home."

Nodding quickly, I retrieved a few dollars from my wallet for the bill, stood and followed him outside. I didn't dare hope but Papa seemed to have left room for discussion this time - a huge difference to when he wouldn't think twice about a decision he'd made. Running up to his side, I wound my arm through his and laid my head on his shoulder. He shook his head but I could tell that he was smiling.

Once we got home and finished brushing the snow from our hats and coats, Papa pulled out some meat and vegetables from the refrigerator and set them out on the counter. I grabbed a knife and chopping board and wordlessly, we prepared dinner together. I'd learned long ago that patience was a virtue I'd do well to keep. Papa couldn't be forced into a decision before he was ready.

It was only until I was straining out the baby carrots when Papa looked up from the meat he was stewing.

"How long will the program run, Anya?"

I tried very hard to keep my face as straight as I could.

"A year, Papa."

He said nothing. The only sound in the kitchen was the boiling gravy and clink the tongs made when I arranged the carrots on the plates.

"Where will you stay, if you go?" He made an extra effort to emphasise the 'if.'

"The college that's hosting the program will be offering accommodation. It's going to be in Baltimore."


I turned to look at him, sudden worry overcoming everything else now. If I left, who would look after him? If I left, who would make sure he kept his appointments with the doctor? My father was a stubborn old man. How could I have not thought of that before asking him?

"Papa, I understand if you say no. Truly, I do."

He stirred the pot once and shut it's lid before turning to face me.

"Okay," he said, "you can go."

My grin must have been a mile long. "Are you serious?"

He laughed, but I could see the sadness in his eyes. Quickly, I tried to backtrack. "I mean, it's not compulsory. I don't have to go Papa, seriously. Opportunities like that happen every day." A lie I knew but what was I to do? I didn't want him to feel forced to say yes to this.

Papa shook his head. "It doesn't, Anya, and you know that. You are going and once it's over, you are going to come back home and tell me all about the great United States of America."

I set the plates I held on the table before me and ran to hug him. "Thank you, Papa! Thank you so much!"


You can find the old & original (but not necessarily the same) version here
Comments are awesome :)


I can't wait to read more of this! :)
Aw let's NOT pretend that never happened lol that was kinda cute though :) I'm really excited to see where this goes, I'm loving it!
@breaking faces
@Brand New Fashion
Hey guys! Thank you so much for the comments you've been leaving me :) I'm definitely going to aspire to write better and I hope I don't disappoint.
indigo adam. indigo adam.
This is definitely a plot line that I've never seen done before. You're writing is amazing, as well. I find (especially with this site) that the writing isn't... well, all that great, I guess. But you're way with words is perfection. I hope that you update soon. I saw that you posted a link to the finished product, but I'm afraid to read it there in case something changes lol. Like I said: I really like this. So you should update soon!
breaking faces breaking faces
Whoooo is it at the door? Awe I really love this story! Great update <333